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Page last updated at 23:08 GMT, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 00:08 UK

Newcastle United back manager Chris Hughton


Speculation unhelpful - Hughton

Newcastle have issued a statement backing manager Chris Hughton amid speculation over his future.

Hughton's deal expires at the end of the season and he has yet to negotiate a new contract with the Tyneside club, who are ninth in the Premier League.

"Chris is our manager and will remain our manager," read a Magpies statement following the club's 4-0 loss to Arsenal in the Carling Cup.

"It is our intention to renegotiate his contract at the end of the year."

The build-up to the cup tie was littered by rumours that Hughton's tenure might be coming to an end and although the Magpies boss conceded the reports were hard to ignore, he insisted he wanted to stay at St James' Park.

"It's difficult not to [notice the speculation] but I can't do anything about that apart from the best job possible," said Hughton, who guided the Magpies to promotion into the top flight last season.

BBC Sport's Saj Chowdhury

"I had a remit last season to get into the Premier League and this season it is to keep us in the division. So far, we've had our ups and downs but done OK.

"I can't affect anything that is said but I think it is unfair. As far as I am concerned I'm a very strong character and have to work around these situations.

"I have a job to do and a group of players that have been wonderful for me. We have a focus and nothing will detract from that."

He added: "I've been at this club for two and a half years and have thoroughly enjoyed it and I would like to stay here as long as possible."

Newcastle face Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday, with Hughton expected to recall his main stars back for the game after fielding a weakened side against Arsenal.

The Gunners had a Tim Krul own goal, a Theo Walcott double and a Nicklas Bendtner strike to thank for their fourth-round win.

However, Hughton believes Walcott's first goal, which put Arsenal 2-0 up, should have been ruled out because Bendtner, who was coming back from an offside position, collided with defender Mike Williamson.

"I have to say the second goal, I thought, was offside and most definitely if it wasn't we thought Mike Williamson was impeded," added Hughton.

"Of course at 2-0, you have got to open up your game a little bit to give yourselves a chance to get back in and what you can't afford to do is make fundamental mistakes.

"Unfortunately we did and they had the quality to capitalise on them but we showed a lot of spirit.

"It was a young side, it was a different side but we certainly kept going to the end and had our own chances."

He continued: "We will put this one behind us because what we do have is a very big game on Sunday and I can guarantee you that, come Sunday, the lads will be very much focused and will know what the magnitude of the game is."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thinks his side's second goal was legitimate, with the Gunners making the most of their fortunate opener.

"I have to see if Bendtner did on purpose block the central defender or not, I have to see that again," said the Frenchman.

"But for me, Walcott was well in front of the central defender anyway, so I don't think that influenced the goal but we will see.

"We were lucky with the first goal just before half-time. It was certainly a blow for Newcastle and it put us in a position where we could break much more because Newcastle had to come out - and that's basically what happened in the second half."

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see also
Speculation unhelpful - Hughton
27 Oct 10 |  Newcastle
Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal
27 Oct 10 |  League Cup
Carling Cup as it happened
27 Oct 10 |  Football

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